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Lewis Grabs Spot in Premier League Play Offs

ADRIAN LEWIS secured a spot in the 888.com Premier League Darts Play-Offs in dramatic fashion, snatching a draw against Gary Anderson in his final league match at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

Lewis looked set to coast into the semi-finals when he took a 5-2 lead against the Scot – who hit back brilliantly with five straight legs to move 7-5 up.

The World Champion seemed on course to suffer the defeat which would have opened the door for Simon Whitlock – who would have needed to win against Phil Taylor in the night’s final match – but Lewis showed his class to win the final two legs and claim the point he needed to seal fourth.

“I made it hard work for myself,” said Lewis. “When I went 5-2 up I should have got the job done but I took my foot off the gas when I shouldn’t.

“I dug out the result and one thing I am doing now is winning ugly. If you can do that, it’s a good thing to have on your side, and I have a lot more in the locker yet.”

Lewis inflicted Taylor’s only defeat of the league season on the opening night in February, and is confident he will raise his game when they meet again in the semi-finals at Wembley Arena next Thursday.

“I’m World Champion and I can go up there and hit a 110 average, and that’s what I’m expecting to do next week against Phil,” added Lewis. “If I perform like I can do next week, I’ll win it.”

Taylor completed the league phase of the event with an 8-3 win over Simon Whitlock in Newcastle, with the Australian unable to qualify for the top four after Lewis’ draw.

“I thought Simon was going to push me harder but it was hard for him early on because he didn’t have the semis to play for any more,” said Taylor. “He played well in the second half of the match though and I enjoyed it.

“I was thinking about playing well to get ready for the semi-finals because I’m after Adrian, big-style. I’d like to go at Adrian as hard as I can next week – he’s a great player and a lovely lad but there’s no love lost when we get up there next week.”

Raymond van Barneveld, meanwhile, jumped above Anderson to finish the season in second place after an 8-4 victory over Mark Webster, who ended his debut Premier League campaign bottom of the table.

Van Barneveld meets Anderson in the other semi-final next week, and said: “Mark gave me a lot of chances and all that mattered was that I got the win.

“If I’d known I had to win it may have been different but I will prepare myself for the semi-finals now. I’ll do everything that I can to win this tournament next week, and I still believe in myself and what I can do.”

The night’s other game saw 2009 champion James Wade end the season on a high, defeating Terry Jenkins 8-4 as the pair sought to seek consolation for missing out on the Play-Offs.

“Unfortunately the win tonight doesn’t change anything in the league table. It’s been a poor Premier League season to miss out on the Play-Offs, but basically I wasn’t good enough at the beginning of the season.

“The darts are starting to come back and I’m going to prepare well for the UK Open now and go to Bolton in confident mood.”

The 888.com Premier League Darts Play-Offs next Thursday will see the two semi-finals followed by a Third-Fourth Place Play-Off and the Final, with the eventual champion taking home £125,000.

Tickets for the Play-Offs remain on sale on 0844 815 0 815 or via www.wembleyarena.co.uk.

888.com Premier League Darts
Week 14 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
James Wade 8-4 Terry Jenkins
Mark Webster 4-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 7-7 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 8-3 Simon Whitlock

Play-Offs
May 19 – Wembley Arena, London
Semi-Finals
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
Best of 15 legs – first to eight

Third-Place Play-Off
Best of 15 legs – first to eight

Final
Best of 19 legs – first to ten
Tickets: 0844 815 0 815 or www.wembleyarena.co.uk

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